It was right there for the taking. Or the shaking, if you will. The Sixers, the fans, the organization — so close to shedding the dead weight of Samuel Dalembert and Andre Iguodala’s contracts — and Ed Stefanski let it get away.
There is no guarantee the deal was in place and that Houston would have pulled the trigger, but there certainly was every indication that the Rockets were seriously considering taking Iguodala and Dalembert in exchange for McGrady and trade filler. No matter what it took, this deal should have been made. But Stefanski in his stubbornness (or is it lame-duckness) refused to trade for anything other than players to improve the team this year.
In the end, this last obstinate stroke will be the final nail in the Stefanski era in Philadelphia, one mired in mediocrity and miscalculation. Unlike most, I don’t fault Stefanski for the Elton Brand deal. But his refusal to own up to his mistakes and wipe the slate clean for the organization, whether for himself or the next GM, will be what ultimately makes his tenure one that is, and this is hard to fathom, worse than the one helmed by Billy King.